Ukraine's Yushchenko: Cabinet And Parliamentary Majority Violate Constitution

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine's president on Thursday made his strongest criticism yet of the Cabinet led by his former rival, accusing ministers of violating the constitution and being illegitimate.

Embattled President Viktor Yushchenko

He called for urgent talks with Premier Viktor Yanukovych and other party leaders.

Viktor Yushchenko's attack came amid mounting pressure on him to dissolve parliament and call new elections. A big rally of many of the former Orange Revolution forces is planned for Kiev on Saturday to press the president to dissolve parliament.

With tension increasing, lawmakers from Yanukovych's coalition gathered in parliament to discuss the situation and Yanukovych called the president's comments "irresponsible and mistaken," according to Ukraine's Unian news agency.

Yushchenko has been locked in an escalating battle for power with his former Orange Revolution rival Yanukovych, whose party won the most votes in last year's parliamentary election and put together a ruling coalition.

Initially, Yushchenko sought to form a partnership with Yanukovych. But their relationship deteriorated into disagreements over policy and the division of power, with Yushchenko mostly on the losing side.

In recent weeks, the danger of Yushchenko being entirely sidelined increased as some lawmakers defected from Yushchenko's side to join the coalition. Yanukovych claims to have the support of 260 lawmakers in the 450-seat parliament, and his party has predicted it will reach the critical number of 300 — enough to override presidential vetoes — in the next few months.

"It is ... a barefaced revision of the will of Ukrainian voters, breaches in the Constitution of Ukraine and a direct path to lawlessness," Yushchenko said in his address timed to mark the anniversary of last year's parliamentary election.

He said Yanukovych's actions in attracting defecting lawmakers was anti-constitutional and that therefore the government's activity was illegitimate.

"The process (in forming the parliamentary majority) is profoundly unconstitutional and undemocratic," Yushchenko told a news conference in the eastern city of Luhansk later Thursday. "It borders on the usurpation of power and a change of the constitutional order in Ukraine."

Yushchenko said that under the constitution, a coalition must be formed within one month of parliament's opening session and it can only be made up of parliamentary factions — not by individual or small groups of lawmakers.

He also complained about parliament's adoption of a law regulating the powers of the Cabinet, which curtailed some presidential powers. Yushchenko has challenged that law in Ukraine's Constitutional Court.

"In the past year, Ukraine has faced many cynical examples of political intrigue and betrayal, but the tendency to usurp power has become the most dangerous," Yushchenko said.

Yushchenko's representative in parliament, Roman Zvarych, said the president would hold consultations with Yanukovych and parliamentary faction leaders on Monday. But Yushchenko suggested that such talks could begin immediately Friday.

Source: International Herald Tribune


Nick said…
Dear Ukrainian friends,
although I am following these posts here since a long time it is the first time I take the trouble to comment myself, the reason been is I feel NOW Ukraine is in a very difficult crossroad.

This is because NOW is the time you have to prove to the world that democracy is really working in your part of the world.
So forgetting about legalities I will only use common sense to show you that dissolving the Parliament is completely WRONG and counterproductive.

In no western democracy a Head of State (President or the King) can dissolve the Parliament on the grounds your President is using i.e. MP’s Changing sides aligning with the rest of the majority.
The so called “imperative mandate” does not exist in in a democratic constitution neither in Ukrainian as far as I know, quite the opposite the MP’s are accountable ONLY to the people they elected them and not to the parties. – This is a provision mainly to avoid Inter-Party Dictatorships. If people from the electorate feel betrayed for their MP’s crossing party lines – they can always show their anger by not electing them again.

There are many examples in Western Europe and other Democracies where MP’s Change parties. Sometimes this changes the Majorities and Minorities blocks and leads to new government been formed to reflect exactly this change. Last example, a month ago happened in Italy, Prime Minister Romano Prondi resigned but reappointed because he formed a new majority coalition.
(See more about this on

Parliament can only be dissolved for losing the majority NOT of making it stronger by means of new factions or individual MP’s joining it.
In all democracies parliament can only be dissolved as a result of no confidence vote. Any other reason usually is interpreted as coupe d’ etate, leading to a dictatorship.
This is a provision against what is called “the servant syndrome” because, otherwise the head of state could appoint his “servant” as Prime minister, directly or indirectly by calling new elections again and again untill his servant is elected.
– You see, constitution is simple logic.

Besides in case of Ukraine now how you can dissolve the parliament for 11 MP’s have joined the ruling coalition?
a) Suppose somehow erase them from Majority – as far as I know the current ruling coalition still enjoys a ruling majority.
b) Suppose they are not allowed to change parties – they can still stay wih the lines of the party they have been elected and vote the opposite direction when time comes. UNLESS you tell me that they are not allowed to vote following their OWN will but only follow the party line THEN the logical conclusion is why a democracy needs MP’s ? – They are not needed in such a system head of party can vote for them but this system can not be called a Democracy anymore.

Last but not least remember :
a) Modern Democracy is a representative system based on representatives (MP’s senator or whatever you call them) who vote on issues based on their personal believes or what THEY think reflects their voters opinion.
b) Democracy is not a really good system but it is the BEST we have devised so far
c) In true Democracies lows are not applied per case.
d) Once a majority is elected and keeps the confidence of the parliament – the only way to overthrow it democratically is next elections – whenever scheduled. This way voters pay also for their mistakes if they made any.
e) One argument I read here is that ruling coalition is not real majority but only represents 35 or something % according to last elections. This is also damn WRONG argument since in all western democracies it is very rare to see absolute (50%++) ruling a country. Relative majority is sufficient to rule otherwise there would not be a government in most western countries (except if we are talking about majorities of 95% ++ like Egypt and other pseudo democracies.

I am so impressed to follow up here comments by followers of the Orange side who are supposed to be the ones that helped advancing democracy in your country and now turn against its basic rules – because probably it does not fit their short term plans. Remember Democracy brings fruits on Long Term.

P.S. With this I am not taking sides on your struggle there – My only intention is to tell you what real democracy is and how it applies on your case and at this time in history of Ukraine. – Comments Welcomed

Tsenis – from Greece (Where democracy was born 3000 years ago ) - Sorry for any crosspostings